Spending Decisions: A Money Management Activity for Adults

This publication provides an activity that demonstrates that spending decisions must be made with limited dollars
Spending Decisions: A Money Management Activity for Adults - Articles


Tips for Effective Money Talk

Making decisions for yourself is easier than making decisions with a partner or several family members. When talking with a partner about money, follow these suggestions for greater success in making decisions.

  1. Understand your own motivation concerning the use of money. You have the right and the responsibility to be clear about the things that are important to you. Do not expect your partner to guess what these things are. Respect and love grow stronger when two people understand each other’s needs.
  2. Stay calm. Most people get upset and angry when there is a conflict over money. If you are upset, step away until you are calmer, but do not ignore the conflict. Think about what is important to you and ask for time to work through the discussion with your partner.
  3. Control distractions. Do not try to talk while watching television or while other people are around. You will not be very attentive or creative with your ideas.
  4. Listen, listen, listen. Most of us think more about what we are going to say than about what the other person is saying. This leads to many mistaken assumptions and lack of focus on what your partner is trying to say. Make sure you check back with a statement such as, “I want to make sure I understand. Is this what you are saying?”
  5. Recognize each other’s feelings. You may forget about the other person’s feelings in your own eagerness to explain. Remember your partner has feelings just like you. Never put your partner down or belittle his or her ideas whether you are alone or with other people.
  6. Strive to find a win/win situation. After each person has explained what he or she thinks and feels, say, “All right, now how can we work this out so we are both satisfied with the result?”
  7. Establish goals together. Dream, talk, consider, wonder, and suggest a whole variety of goals that are important. Then decide together which ones you want to achieve now and which can wait. Develop a plan to reach your goals.
  8. Talk about the trade-offs for every want and need. Almost everything worthwhile has a price. When two people agree about the costs, the reward is worth it.
  9. Work together to establish a spending plan and make a commitment to keep your spending in line with your plan. With mutual respect and commitment, you and your partner can do wonders.

Adapted for use by Marilyn M. Furry, Ph.D., associate professor of agricultural and extension education, from “Spending Decisions,” Extension Service, Iowa State University; and revised by Jane Landis, county extension director, Dauphin County, Penn State Extension.